Sunday, 15 July 2018

Summer Herbs and Fruits and Wildflowers in the Polyculture Veg Beds and Forest Garden. Week 14 - The Polyculture Project

Shifting down gears as we go into summer with plenty of observing, harvesting and eating the harvest this week. The gardens are doing an excellent job of turning light, carbon dioxide and water into food and we're doing a good job of appreciating that :)

Market Garden

Walking around the gardens on a sunny summer morning following a night of heavy rain you can certainly sense the garden's will to grow. Symphytum x uplandicum - Comfrey with vegetables polycultures in the background 

The polyculture beds  

We're pleased to again be offering a modest selection of vegetables and fruits to Trustika Food co-op. Dylan is handling the orders this year and here he is picking pears for orders. 

Trustika is an excellent example of connecting food producers with consumers. The food co-op buying and selling takes place on an ingenious piece of database design using google sheets by Borislav Dimitrov who also manages the food co-op. Using their gmail accounts producers list, consumers order and everything is delivered to a central pick up point. Elegant :)     

Garden produce picked and ready for delivery 

Foeniculum vulgare - Fennel   planted on the perimeter of the polyculture beds. An excellent plant for beneficial insects and great kitchen herb too.

The green patch with various plants growing have emerged from a cow manure deposits that were put on this meadow outside our market garden during the winter. Amazing to see the variety of seeds that have germinated in the manure, including a number of squash plants that are running rampant.     

Forest Garden 

Possibly one of the hardiest figs on the planet was developed here in Bulgaria. A cultivar named 'Michurinska 10' is commonly grown here at altitudes above 1000 m elevation in areas that receive extreme winters lows of below -20. Here you can see the breba crop of figs already ripe by early July.

About 5 years ago I collected seed from the parent of the below plant standing proud in the glasshouse borders of RHS Wilsley Gardens in the UK. The borders were designed by one of my favorite garden creators Piet Oudolf. The plant is Glycyrrhiza yunnanensis -Yunnan Liquorice and this year it has flowered and set seed for the first time :)  I've not been able to confirm that the plant is edible, however, being a relative of Glycyrrhiza glabra the plant used to make Liquorice it may well be.  

Apple tree in the home forest garden is looking good this year 

Prunella vulgaris - Self-heal is one of favourite edible summer herbs. The young leaves and stems can be eaten raw in salads and the whole plant can be boiled and eaten These plants are perennial but in my experience never survive more than a few years. Gratefully, they self seed quite easily popping up in various spots in the gardens including the lawns.   

Morus alba - White Mulberry Still fruiting well into July. The fruits are larger and sweeter than the early ripening fruit

Young trees in the bionursery are doing well with all the rain and sunshine. Here we have classic bee trees  Tetradium danielii - Korean Bee Tree  and Albizia julibrissin - Silk tree with Symphytum x uplandicum - Comfrey
planted below.

Hibiscus syriacus - Rose of Sharon flowering. A great summer flowering shrub with edible flowers and very suitable for hedging. Another plant that will feature in our upcoming bee garden, Eudaimonia.  

Seed pods of  Lunaria rediviva - Perennial Honesty. Excellent bee plant for early spring. Another plant with edible relatives Lunaria annua - Annual honesty, but I cannot find any account that L.rediviva is edible. 

Wild  Saponaria officinalis - Soapwort in a field behind Ataraxia. I noticed a large number of Ladybirds - Coccinellidae on the plants 

If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands on experience join us this Spring. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers and making a small wildlife pond. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

We offer a diversity of plants and seeds for permaculture and forest gardens  including a range of fruit and nut cultivars. We Deliver all over Europe from Nov - March. Give a happy plant a happy home :) 

The Bionursery

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